At Leggett, our buyers come to us for all sorts of reasons and often their aspirations are a mix of the personal and professional. People often say that one should never mix business with pleasure, but when it comes to buying a second home in France, it is possible to pull it off. Here we look at how buying in the alpine ski resorts of the Three Valleys can be just the ticket.
The wonderful thing about ski properties is that there is plenty of potential to enjoy your property at the same time as getting a good portion of the mortgage paid off or even making some money from it. In Courchevel, Meribel and Val Thorens, a thriving ski industry has helped property owners and investors to team up with local holiday providers in order to get that business/pleasure balance just right.
We spoke to Courchevel ski holidays expert, Adam Breen of Evasion Travel to ask him how the relationship works. He explained that holiday providers like his actively seek out property owners in the area and manage their properties during the winter seasons. The holiday providers sub-let the properties to their clients, usually a week at a time and provide property management services as well as finding the all-important clients in the first place. Owners may reserve certain weeks of the season for themselves in order to make use of the property for their own ski time.
Companies like Evasion Travel like to ensure that they have a good range of apartments and chalets to offer to their clients. Apartments are typically marketed as self catered lettings whilst larger chalets are often staffed by the company in order to provide meals and services for clients.
Negotiation is a thing to consider when choosing a company to work with as well. A balance has to be struck between finding the right company which will look after your property and a reasonable letting agreement.
You will need to trust the company to clean and maintain your property well. You also need to be sure that they are capable of achieving a good level of sales as you will be relying on them for payments! Just as importantly, you need to be sure that you can use the property when you wish. For some owners this may be hardly at all, whereas for others if may be for most of the winter season.
Typically, chalets that are intended for catered holidays are let for the entire winter season, meaning that provided that your chosen holiday provider can meet the rent, you will have a guaranteed income for the year. Properties that are intended for self catered lettings are often still bound to one holiday operator who will pay a commission to the owners for each week that they manage to sell. The commission rates need to be such that the holiday provider is incentivised to make the maximum possible amount of sales on your behalf.
The Three Valleys have long been established as one of the most extensive and prestigious ski domaines in the world. It prevailed well during the recession as an area, but as investors and private owners reshuffled their decks in the wake of the ‘crise economique’, many new properties have come onto the market wearing competitive price tags.
Leasebacks in one paragraph!
Leaseback apartments can be a great way to invest: in a nutshell you would buy the freehold, so you own the property. The property is then leased back to a management company who specialise in the tourist management, maintenance and rental of these properties for a set period. In return owners receive a guaranteed annual return and will be offered the option of staying in the property free of charge for certain weeks of the year. When the lease expires, you are left with a property that you still own and can either continue with a new lease or let the apartment privately. So, it’s a financially secure way of buying abroad and good in that someone takes care of the property for you and guarantees you a rental income.
Links to Best Chalet Buys!
Links to Best Value Apartments!
Visit http://www.skifrenchproperty.com/ to see Leggett’s selection of properties in the Alps. Our Courchevel agent, Annabel Andrewes will be happy to explain more.